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Monster Mama
Liz Rosenberg
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Monster Mama

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  350 ratings  ·  65 reviews
Patrick Edward's fierce monster mother helps him deal with some obnoxious bullies.
Published February 24th 1997 by Turtleback Books (first published 1993)
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Average rating 4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  350 ratings  ·  65 reviews

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Apr 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture
Odd and interesting picture book about a small boy whose mother appears to be a monster. How or why this is the case (is she a mutant? something supernatural? is it a metaphor?) is not addressed, nor do we know how the community feels about this semi-reclusive* monster in their midst other than that "her bad moods terrified the neighborhood." What is important is that her son loves her, and she loves and protects (in a non-stifling, independence-encouraging way) him. And that you should not ...more
Imagine that your mother was actually a terrifying monster that scares anyone who comes across her, but you still love your mother anyway because, she is your mother! That is what happens in this story called “Monster Mama” which was written by Liz Rosenberg along with illustrations by Stephen Gammell and children everywhere will definitely enjoy reading this book about loving your parents for who they are.

Patrick Edward was a young boy who was extremely wonderful, but his mother is a monster
Greta is Erikasbuddy
May 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The older little one
Recommended to Greta is Erikasbuddy by: Ronyell
A beautiful children's book about a little boy who has a special kind of mama.

A Monster Mama!!

Monster Mama is indeed that... A monster! She lives in a cave at the back of the house and teaches her little boy how to do magic and roar.

But Patrick Edward isn't a monster. He just has a one as his Mama.

One day Mama tells Patrick Edward to go pick up some desert from the market. On the way he gets bullied by three mean kids. Monster Mama hears this from her cave and runs down there to make things
Jul 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The blurb implies that any mother could be a monster to other children, but I do think it's very clear that this mother is challenged by some sort of mental illness. And look, it's illustrated by Stephen Gammell again - he of the multiple Caldecotts, he of many different styles of art....
Samantha Penrose
Awesome illustrations!
Touching and Strange.
There are no notes in the book, but when I began reading it I immediately wondered if it had been written by someone who has been affected in some way by a bipolar disorder, manic depression, or some other up down and all around mental illness.
I don't think that the reviews on the back cover are very accurate. Words like "hilarious", "cozy", and "tender" (from three different blurbs) don't really seem to fit in my eyes.....words that come to my mind
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
Patrick Edward's mother has bad moods, unpredictable behavior, and lives at the back of the house in a cave...she is a "monster mama". But even with her bad moods, she has the sweetest touch, great advice, and she loves Patrick Edward very much. One day, Patrick Edward goes into town to buy supplies for a sweet dessert but he is stopped by three horrible bullies. Will his mother's advice help him? Can his monster mama protect him?

This book has a great message and can be used to simply tell a
Apr 28, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a strange story about a little boy with a monster mama. She literally is a monster in this tale, although perhaps it could stand as a metaphor for a woman with a disfigurement, a terrible disease, a phobia, mental illness or even an addiction that keeps her homebound.

The two obviously care greatly for one another and defend each other from taunts and bullies. The story is pretty good, but I wasn't a big fan of the illustrations. We enjoyed reading this story together and I had fun
Jun 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I will never stop reading or buying childrens books. Now that I have a Niece I have an "excuse", but it really just means I have to buy TWO :-) This book has amazing illustrations and the proclamation "Death to all Tyrants!"... really... couldn't be better!
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Magical, suspenseful. I picked this book up for the love of Stephen Gammel's illustrations and was not at all disappointed by them. Enjoyed seeing his work in full, abstracted color as opposed to the black and white of the Scary Stories illustrations. I felt they matched the writing style well. The mystery surrounding Monster Mama was fascinating- I found her conflict resolution surprising but fun. I appreciate that she is a delightful, oppinionated, loving and caring introverted "monster," with ...more
Dec 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like kids books and people who don't.
This is one of the best picture books that I have ever read. Ever. It's one of the few picture books that honestly addresses what it's like to have a parent who isn't perfect. And maybe way less than perfect. I've given it to adults and read it with kids, and everyone likes it. I appreciate picture books with a bit of reality -- even if it's fantastical reality. The art is dark and messy and lovely.
Feb 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone, anyone
Glorious illustrations. Warm story of maternal love and what a wonderful support that is for a child and how it colors the child's interactions in the world. Kids love the surprising twists in this story as much as the adult who reads it to them.
Apr 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The art is unique and the story is captivating. Great quotable dialogue from the protagonist.
Feb 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
One of my favorite illustrators. Beautiful, colorful, wild book about a mother and son's love.
Jul 16, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents of young children
This was one of my favorite books to read to my son. It tells the story of a mother who is not perfect, but loves her child.
Oct 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
GREAT illustrations and an all-time family favorite
I'm not sure why I was so drawn to this book as a kid, but it was one of the picture books from my own childhood that I could readily name as an adult (before I became a librarian). I was fascinated by Stephen Gammell's artwork, though it wasn't the type of art I normally liked. I think I also just connected with the love between the boy and his mother, and how they protected each other. Plus, I've always loved stories about inner beauty vs. outward appearances. This one is a classic for me!
Aug 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
Patrick Edward’s mother is a monster. When he has friends over, she stays in a big cave. But when three “bullies” try to steal Patrick’s dessert, monster mama comes out to help (after Patrick lets out a monstrous roar of his own).

Illustrations are an explosion of color with a “dripping” effect. Very unusual.
Kest Schwartzman
Beautiful illustrations (I mean REALLY stand out gorgeous) and a lovely story about kindness in monsters.
This book has wonderful illustrations! Steven Gammell art work follows along with the authors words!
Feb 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is extraordinary! Such a delight. A magnificent surprise. People don't write (or read) books like this everyday. But they should.
Zak Knudson
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought the book was very interesting. The ending was particularly good - given that they made amens with Edward and his Moma. I know that when I read the title and saw the illustrations, it was in my head that the mother was truly a monster. But throughout the book she cared deeply for Edward. It was quite the interesting twist

The illustrations were amazing. Somewhat abstract, somewhat colorful. It allowed the reader to be guided in a direction but allowed for individual creativity.

I added
Tahya Bruce
Sep 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was different than any other children's book I have read before. The illustrations were very abstract and I feel like the illustrations are similar to a kids energy level. It is very artsy, has a lot of scribbled in shapes, and just cool designs that would catch a kids attention. The message the book was trying to send is also a good message to send to kids. The message of how much affections a mother has for their kids and how much a mother does for their kids is great for little kids ...more
Oct 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
I just came across this book the other day at work, and I'm surprised I had never seen it before. It's interesting to see the different interpretations of it.

It seems the most common take on it is the love of a parent for their child, and vice versa, even when the parent is not perfect. Some even see this as even possibly alluding to a parent with mental illness, which certainly did not occur to me at first.

I saw the portrayal of the mother as a humorous way of showing (1) how kids often see
Kimberlee Gutterman
Just looking at the cover, this books seems like it would be really scary but when you open it up and read it, it actually isn't. This book would be great to read around Halloween because of the usage of the phrase monster. I really liked the illustration style of this book because instead of regular colored drawings it had a paint splatter style. I thought this was interesting because I've never seen a book have illustrations like that before. Except for a couple of portraits, many of the ...more
Jan Arrick
Jan 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When my granddaughter was just a little girl, she loved Monster Momma. We would read it over and over. When she moved to Virginia I recorded it and sent it to her so she could not only hear my voice, but the beloved story. Now she is grown and looking forward to teaching young children. I'm sure this will be one of the books in her own "library". It is a wonderful story about a young boy, his love for his mother, and how she shows bullies it's not always what you see on the outside that ...more
Feb 08, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kidstuff
Unusual allegory for a kid’s picture book: a child’s relationship with an “impaired” parent. In this case an actual monster mama who doesn’t like to leave the cave in the back of the house. The boy in the story looks small for his age, but he’s independent, resourceful and resilient. Fun and fierce. A picture book w/ bright colors, drips and splatters. Not for very young or easily frightened kids. Could generate some interesting questions. My 4yo nephew requested this book over and over on his ...more
Apr 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you couldn't tell, I'm big on illustrations in books. If I don't like the pictures I could careless what the story is about. I guess I'm kind of like a little kid in that aspect. This book has beautiful pictures, carrying from page to page; of a little boy and his monster mother. Let's just say she taught him well, becuase when she sent him how for strawberries for dessert a group of bullies learned to never pick on him again.
Even though she's a real monster, Patrick Edward loves his mom -- especially when she uses her powers to tame a trio of young bullies -- in this exuberantly illustrated picture book about the universal love between a mother and child."One person's monster is another's mom.

(Gammell's) illustrations crackle with childlike energy". -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Has humor, suspense, and just a hint of magic to beguile readers". -- School Library journal
Jul 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-book
This book is about a boy whose mom is a monster in the best possible sense. She's disheveled and interesting and passionately loves and protects her son.

I picked the book up when the cover caught my eye. All of the illustrations in the book are vivid watercolors with splashes and slashes of paint that fit the mood of the story. I also love that this book is quirky and doesn't have a hint of predictable "then his mother talked to the boys and they all became friends" to it.
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Liz Rosenberg is an American poet, novelist, children's book author, and book reviewer. She is currently a professor of English at Binghamton University.
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